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The Compass  /  AccessoriesStyle  /  Sport Suspenders & Look Old-School Cool

Sport Suspenders & Look Old-School Cool

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how to wear suspenders

It’s time to rethink how to wear suspenders. Just the word conjures up thoughts of Steve Urkel from Family Matters when you should be thinking of Leo DiCaprio as Gatsby.

The Brits call them braces, cafe cuties call them awesome. You fine sir, may call on them any time you desire to bring a sharp edge to your ensemble. In a sea of belt cinched waists, properly worn suspenders distinguish your style. Their primary function is to keep your pants up but their placement and contrast with your shirt take things up a sartorial notch. Prepare to transition from fitting in to standing out. The suspenders look is bold yet sophisticated, classic yet hip and undeniably suave.

With belts, you know the drill. Wear one that doesn’t match your shoes and fashion police sirens blare. Wear one right and no one cares. Ever since you retired programmable LED and cowboy sized buckles, belts have been little more than a stylistic afterthought. Learning how to wear suspenders, however, opens up a whole new sartorial world.

how to wear suspenders: styling tip
Form-And-Function

Even practical dressers can’t deny the beyond-aesthetic gifts of donning a set of suspenders. In fact, the look is simply icing on your beefcake when you consider the benefits of comfort, adjustability and durability.

how to wear suspenders: function and form how to wear suspenders: types of suspenders how to wear suspenders: connecting points   

After years of strapping a belt on your horizontal, going vertical is certain to seem edgy. But donning a set of suspenders doesn’t mean you have to chuck all of your belts. Think of them as another sharp arrow in your style quiver and let it fly (and be fly). Start with a solid color like navy, that will match just about anything you wear and let your confidence in the look grow from there. But really, brace yourself, anyone with the slightest bit of attraction to you won’t be able to keep themselves from getting close and giving the elastic in your straps a tug. Be ready to stand your ground and enjoy your look in a whole new old school way.

Have you been rocking the suspenders already? How have people reacted? Leave a comment below.


Seen Above:

Top Image
Tan Suspenders by Geoffrey Beene, Alternating Dotted Frame Square Tie by Brooks Brothers, Light Blue Solid Broadcloth Custom Dress Shirt by Black Lapel, Navy Blue Custom Suit by Black Lapel

Below
Navy Moore Tile Print Brace by The British Belt Company, Solid Royal Blue Tie by Black Lapel, Light Blue Solid Broadcloth Custom Dress Shirt by Black Lapel, Gray Glen Plaid Custom Suit by Black Lapel

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268 thoughts on “Sport Suspenders & Look Old-School Cool”

  1. Can one wear suspenders with epaulettes? I’m a pilot and wear a uniform with epaulettes and a coat. When I take off my coat I don’t want to look strange. I’ve just discovered suspenders and find them just more comfortable.

    1. We wouldn’t recommend wearing suspenders with a shirt with epaulettes. For one, the suspenders would almost certainly get in the way. We’re no experts in uniforms but your employer (be it the armed forces or a carrier), probably wouldn’t look too kindly on you covering up a piece of your uniform. Secondly, aren’t pilot uniforms intended to be worn with a belt? (The military certainly makes use of belts in just about every uniform.)

      We love suspenders and wouldn’t want to squash your style, Mike, but our advice is to follow the rules and wear a belt when you’re in the cockpit. When you’re off the clock, however, you should feel free to wear suspenders as often as you like.

  2. Hey all, I just bought my first pair of suspenders (Y, back strap is non-adjustable) and it’s really pulling up the rear end, not as much the front, almost giving me a wedgie. Is this normal? Thanks in advance!

    1. Are they clip-on suspenders, Matt? We’d be willing to bet they are. Why? Because the clip-ons tend to create the problem you’re having. Unlike button in, which have two buttons to attach to inside the waistband of your pants, clip-ons are simply clamping onto your pants and pulling them up. Instead of splitting the force of the suspenders 50/50 over two buttons in the back, you’ve now got one point of contact where your suspenders are pulling up and it’s right above, as the old saying goes, where the good lord splits ya’. This can be a real pain in the ass (pun intended). Luckily, you’ve got us, a crack team of stylists (pun also intended) ready to help you out.

      For immediate relief, try adjusting the suspenders in the front. Loosen them and you’ll reduce the tension on your pants altogether. Other than that the solution may lie in the pants you wear with suspenders. The crotch may not be the best fit. Fixing that will require a trip to your tailor. Or you can get a pair of custom pants like we make. They’re made to measure and on of those measurements is the rise, which tells the tailors how to make the seam the holds together the crotch. Oh, and because they’re custom, you can choose to include suspender buttons inside the waistband so that you can connect yours with leather tabs. As with most problems in menswear, fit fixes everything.

  3. Its been hot here the past few weeks so one day last I was wearing a pair of jeans that were fine without suspenders. Wife, kids, co workers, friends all commented on no suspenders, I wasn’t too surprised; but I’ve been taking a subway to work for years and as a rule, no one talks beyond a “Hey” or a grunt. I got full sentences from 1/2 dozen people I didn’t even know on the missing suspenders. Does that even happen with a belt?

    I’m thinking there needs to be a warning on the package when you buy the suspenders. “If worn regularly consult your doctor before discontinuing use”.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Agreed, Ken, you’ve got to use your suspenders responsibly and that means considering how much they contribute to your personal brand. Once they become a signature item, keeping them in the mix is essential.

      Well, you know you’re doing something right since your fellow commuters noticed. Keep up the good work!

  4. Hey! I was wondering if it’d be possible to somehow style suspenders with a t-shirt, and if so then how could I style it?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sure, Peter. The skinheads started doing that back in the 60s to emphasize their working class roots, so there is some precendence here.

      But–there’s always a but–just because it’s been done before doesn’t mean you should try to pull it off. When the skinheads started doing it, the look was throwback. Today it would look kind of costume-y, like you were being a skinhead for Halloween. Plus, you may not want to be lumped in with the skinhead movement’s fringe politics. We’d say skip this idea and go for with vintage workwear that’s a little less costume, more homage to the past, like denim workshirts, newsboy caps, cuffed dark jeans, etc. There are plenty of ways to pull from the past that are much more stylish.

    2. As mentioned the skins have been doing suspenders for decades. The most classic shirt for a skinhead look is a Polo Shirt. You certainly can do ith with a tee-shirt. A friend of mine does that. Although he is going for a skinhead look. Something to keep in mind is that not all skins are racists. The original skins weren’t racist. But in the popular mind skinhead = racist. So you do run the risk of being seen as a neo-nazi. Especially if combined with jeans and boots. That’s why I plan on getting a “Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice” patch. Just to make it clear that I am not a racist. Although I think as a woman I am less likely to be viewed as a racist; since people aren’t as familiar with women’s skinhead styles. So if you want to try suspenders with a tee-shirt go for it. Just be aware that someone might think you are a skinhead.

      1. Black Lapel says:

        All good points, Jennifer.

        Unfortunately, people are built to make quick decisions based on looks (it’s part of our DNA, it helped the original humans survive and we’re still carrying those traits). People will make assumptions. Dressing in a way that projects an overt message about who you are and what you do is always a dicey proposition. After all, if you showed up to the scene of a crime in a policeman’s uniform, most people would expect you to make an arrest whether you’re a real cop or not. That’s why we advocate taking a more subtle approach. Just about the worst thing anybody can call an outfit is costume-y.

  5. Hopefully you see this as I’m getting married this weekend. I have a dark blue tuxedo and I bought navy herringbone patterned braces. The tabs are black leather which I think is fine as I’m wearing black shoes but I just noticed that on the back below the y, it’s cream colored elastic rather than the same blue material. Is this okay or a big no no for a formal tuxedo?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Your instincts are correct, Steve, a truly formal pair of braces are usually only one color and usually have nylon/elastic tabs in the front, like these. However, you can definitely wear the ones you’re referring to with a tux. Why? The front tabs won’t be visible if you’re wearing a cummerbund. How much will the back be visible? You’ll likely have the jacket on throughout the event. Even if the back is visible, a cream color on white will barely be noticeable. We say go forth with these braces.

      1. Thank you so much for the quick reply, I love the site.

  6. Living in such tropical country made us to wear ‘cool-fabric’ tees with partnered short pants during dry seasons. I was thinking of how we could incorporate this classy thing on our casual clothing. However, other articles suggests that it should be worn underneath a jacket, vest or sweater which we shouldn’t be wearing during those dry seasons. Another article suggests that it should be a part of a formal clothing and not the way we want to combine it in our regular outfits.
    I was about to forget this plan to start a stylish spark in our community by wearing these braces in our casual clothing. But then, I just tried to ask if maybe you can provide some suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Casual suspenders are a thing, Art. While we didn’t cover them much here, there are ways to mix them into more casual outfits. One way, get some X-back suspenders which are seen more on outdoorsmen than on office workers.

  7. I’m a senior in high school, and I’ve been wanting to wear suspenders ever since I watched Doctor Who. I have a burgundy and black pair, as well as Doctor Who burgundy which are also burgundy. I want to wear the Doctor a Who suspenders with a navy blue TARDIS I own, is Thai acceptable, and if so what kind of pants would I wear with it?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      So if we’re reading this correctly, the question is: is a tie acceptable with a pair of suspenders?

      The answer to that question is yes. Just look at the photos above. They all feature suspenders and ties.

  8. A few more braces converts but hard going…

    Just an update to say my new work mates are very slow to follow the braces trend and I think we have only had about 2 other guys now who wear braces now and again. I of course am still flying the flag and wear them most days. I keep saying that if guys like Ricky Wilson on the UK Voice can wear them all the time on TV why should other guys feel embarrassed to wear them.

    Can’t wait till the warmer weather starts and I can be back out and about outside with braces on full show. I also think someone needs to invent a braces rack like they have a tie rack as mine are always getting tangled up in the drawer.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Keep the faith, Gordon. They’ll come around.

      That braces rack idea is genius. Make it and start selling it yourself. You’ll get a few orders from New York from the Black Lapel team as soon as you do!

  9. This is a great article! Thank you for writing. I’ve shared it on my Facebook page. Thank you again.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Awesome! We’re glad we could help. Keep up the engagement :)

  10. Paul Duke says:

    I am 74 and have been wearing suspenders a very long time, so I would advise those of you who do not like to wear your shirts tucked in, wear the suspenders under your shirt and let the tails fly. I have “underwear” suspenders made for just that purpose (they can be found at most good purveyors of suspenders). I have a rather big belly, and I am very fond of my Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts here in Florida. There is no way I could be as comfortable if I had to resort to a belt.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks for the knowledge, Paul!

      Your advice reminds us of a trick that we use a lot when wearing a 3-piece suit. A pair of suspenders under the vest keeps everything in place and stops the belt buckle from bulging out around the bottom of the vest.

  11. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely useful information specifically the closing
    part :) I maintain such info a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very lengthy time.

    Thanks and best of luck.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks, Maggie! Glad to hear our stories are resonating with you. Stay stylish!

  12. mark saniez says:

    Oh yes I certainly do remember having to wear those very short trousers with buttons and leather end braces up till the age of 16 until my scholarship was not ended here in France. And my mother, like all the others, pulled our short trousers very high up by our braces so that they could whip our buttocks with their dam Martinet with it’s 12 leather tails 30cm long! and which really stung our asses believe me! And on top of that we has to wear those long nylon buttoned overalls, and like my mother so I couldn’t get it off always bought and put on me long nylon overalls in all colours but buttoned in the back with big plastic buttons!+the black beret fixed permanently on our heads too, and to hide our heads shaved thanks again to our mothers. Anyway that’s the way our mothers here in France liked to see us always at least until the age of 16! We were completely under mothers rules. Her herself wearing too a maxi long nylon overall which came down to her leather laced shoes + a beret that they wore too, this fashion went on all through the 50’s, the 60’s the 70’s and up until the middle of the 80’s. Today this would be unthinkable, but I can guarantee that that was the way our mothers bought us up in this era !!

    1. Hah! Classic motherly behavior! Although it does sound like she was just dressing you for the time, so you can’t blame her for that. Plus, she turned you into a little gent early on and usually that sticks with a man.

  13. Hi it’s me again. I’ve been wearing suspenders out in public and with my friends, even one of my friends is wondering if he should wear suspenders but I still can’t get myself to wear them infront of my parents, I used to hate tucking in my shirt, so do you have any advice or tips?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Well, Maciej, suspenders pretty much require you to tuck in your shirt, so it sounds like you’ve come to a fork in the road. It should come as no surprise that we would choose the tucked in route, but it’s up to you.

      As for wearing suspenders in front of your parents, we’re not sure what you’re afraid of, but earlier advice about not worrying about what the “cool kids” think still holds true. If you can’t be yourself in front of the people who made you, who can you be yourself in front of?

      1. I guess you’re right, and only now do I realise that me and my friends are the “cool kids” in our school so I guess I don’t have to worry about that

        1. Black Lapel says:

          “Cool kids” generally set trends so keep rocking your braces, young player, we’re all about that trend.

    2. Mate this was a big problem for me too. I was way too embarrassed to wear braces infront of my parents, so I just made myself and said ‘what do you think?’ They know I’m into smart casual anyway so it wasn’t too bad. You’ve just got to go for it!

    3. Wear them under your main shirt, but above an undershirt. I do this all the time for informal shirts.

    4. Maciej, I have the same problem with tucking in my shirts, either with belts or suspenders. What you need are “men’s shirt stays”. They come in pairs, and they clip on one side to your socks, and the other side are two clips for your shirt tails. Next time I’m out, I’m getting some – only $9 at Sears. Good luck!

      1. Tom, I don’t think Maciej has a “problem” tucking in his shirts, he just doesn’t like doing it. That being said, we’re intrigued by your problem and that the average guy still thinks of “men’s shirt stays” as a viable option. We have a sneaking suspicion that your shirts are just way too big, which would certainly cause problems trying to tuck them in. You can probably guess our solution to this kind of problem: go custom or go home! 😉

    5. Hi Maciej, Long time ago when I first got into braces I too was a bit worried and shy about wearing them in from of my friends and parents, my friends were first as they saw them under my top on a night out and I was outed then and had to take my top off to reveal my braces, that broke the ice and after a few remarks no one said much else. I was still funny about my parents and sneaked out the house often hiding my braces. After a while I think I just wanted my parents to find out like my freinds did so I started to be less careful about hiding them, but they still never noticed. I don’t think I felt comfortable just appearing in front of them with braces on so eventully I started leaving then attached to be trousers when I got home and undressed and just hung my trousers over my bedroom chair at night with braces still attached. Eventully after a few time my Mum did see them hanging there attached to my trousers and said she did not know I wore braces. I just said I had tried them a couple of times as a mate had a pair as well and I liked the look of them. She asked to see what they looked like on me so I had to go put them on and let her see. The rest is history and I wear braces most of the time now in front of anyone, I find it a great buzz to go to meeting with work clients or with strangers and take my jacket off the reveal my braces, never had a bad comment yet in fact most guys even say they think they look good. I walk about during the warm weather with braces on show all the time as I just love the look and stylish feel of them, but it was funny how my parents were still the last to see me wearing braces back in the early days, until I forced myself to get caught with them. I have never looked back since so no one should ever bother or worry about wearing braces in front of anyone, most of all your parents, in fact get out there and wear them and enjoy the buzz it gives you. I have found the more people see others wearing braces the more will follow.

  14. First success at my new work place!! Since I started to wear my braces a few of the guys were talking about them before Christmas and a couple said they had thought about giving them a go. One even said his Doctor said he should try wearing braces instead of a belt to help with his stomach problems. Today one of the younger guys came in with a pair of Burgundy colour with fine white stripe worn with his Black jeans and White shirt. He said be got them from H&M over Christmas and after watching Take Me Out on the TV at the weekend he saw one of the contestants on there wearing braces so he then decided to wear them to work, knowing that I would hopefully have mine on.

    A few of the other guys have said maybe we have starting a trend, so you never know a few more may now join in the crowd. It just takes one to start wearing braces and other guys do tend to follow, that’s so strange.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      And so it begins, Gordon. Just watch. It always starts small (just like it did the last time) but soon other guys will start and before you know it, you’ll be in a fully suspended office again!

      Note to self: When we launch our line of suspsenders, hire Gordon as our advocate/salesperson.

  15. do you guys think a red suspenders would match a white shirt, red tie and a black pants?

    1. All of this matches and you’re definitely following our rule of contrast. It’s a bold look, but if that’s how you old-school cool, then do your thing!

  16. Great article!! Quick question for my own situation though. I’m getting married this coming summer and I’m having the groomsmen do a bit more of a summer casual look but obviously still want them to look good and dressed up. Just doing navy pants, white shirt, bow tie, and suspenders (no jacket). We’ve got tan coloured shoes picked out. Should the leather straps on the suspenders be a pretty close match to the tan shoes or can we get away with brown (like the picture at the top of the article) as “close enough”? Or will that clash a bit too much? And would a wheat (again, like the picture) or khaki colour suspender work for that? Or would it look silly on a white dress shirt? Thanks in advance!!

    1. Your suspenders don’t have to match exactly to your shoe color. It’s actually cooler to not be so matchy-matchy. I think a wheat/khaki colored suspender will look perfectly beachy for your summer wedding and up against a white dress shirt your groomsmen will appear a little more formal than the look from the picture at the top of the article.

  17. Hey guys it’s me again. I wore suspenders in public a few times but I’m still not brave enough to wear them infront of my parents. Yesterday I got a pair of jeans that came with camo thin suspenders but I don’t know if there’s a way I can style them.

    1. I’m a big fan of camo in small doses and thin suspenders definitely vouch for this. I’m picturing a look like this with a light blue dress or denim shirt, or just a classic white oxford shirt. Wearing suspenders and jeans will give off that old-school, hipster vibe so make sure the vest of your outfit accessories match up.

  18. What about a white button-up shirt with a red bow tie and black suspenders and black pants. Would that look good?

    1. Very old-school cool, I dig it.

  19. I was wondering if it would be stylish and socially acceptable to wear black suspenders over a blue-gray shirt with khaki pants and brown shoes. Basically, is it highly recommended the suspenders match something similar to he belt matching the shoes? Or is it just a preference?

    1. It’s highly recommended, much like matching your shoes to your belt. Since you’ll be wearing mostly earthy tones below the waist, black suspenders would clash up top. Stick with brown/tan or blue suspenders for a cohesive and stylish look.

  20. I have moved jobs and left a place where loads of guys wore braces, which I take a lot of credit for introducing them. I have started at a new place and for the first few weeks I went back to a belt to try and not stand out too much right away. I have now worn my braces again a few times and had to go through the same old jokes and ribbing but that has all calmed down now and I am able to wear them most days days now. The big test will be if I can get anyone else to start wearing them. So far the comments have all been positive but no one has joined me yet. I keep saying to the other guys why now ask for a pair of braces for Christmas and see what you think of them so you never know the New Year may bring some new recruit’s.

    1. Send your new co-workers our way. Give them a link to this story, tell them to read the comments and they’ll get on board!

      Keep us in the loop, Gordon.

  21. Hey guys! I’m 14 years old and I’m wondering If it would look nice/cool if I wore a navy Next polo shirt with dark blue jeans and black suspenders?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Since the rest of your outfit is navy, I don’t think black suspenders will create enough contrast or match that well. I would recommend suspenders in a lighter color to contrast the navy like tan, light blue, or brown leather.

  22. I just bought navy blue suspenders with a tan colored stripe going down the middle. I plan to pair it with a brown donegal suit. Any suggestions for shirt and tie color/pattern?

    1. Shirt and tie colors are the source of much costernation for many men. That shouldn’t be the case. Figuring out what colors to wear is pretty simple. You just have to look in the mirror and know what you’re looking for. For more on this check out our stories on Mastering Men’s Fashion From the Inside Out and Creating Your Own Shirt Style in Three Steps.

      As for the pattern, we advise you to go easy on patterned shirts and ties when you’ve got on a donegal suit and striped suspenders. Too many competing patterns will look busy and detract from the whole look. Stick to solid shirts and simple ties for this suit and suspenders combination, Pete.

  23. Hey lads. I’m a 14 year old. I want to wear braces but I’m scared that my friends and people at school will think that I’m “not cool” I also don’t know how to wear them infront of my parents since I used to hate braces and tucking in my shirt. I also read through James’ posts and got some advice but I feel like I need some advice of my own

    1. Well Maciej, we applaud your interest in dressing well at such a young age. We also remember what it was like to be your age. It seemed like everyone else’s perception of us were more important than our perceptions of ourselves.

      We understand that it takes courage to be yourself, especially when that means not following the “cool kids” trends and when you’re young, but our best advice is to be yourself and don’t worry about being called “cool” by others. If wearing suspenders makes you feel like your true self, then go for it.

  24. Can i wear my suspenders with a trouser with belt holders? Hope pple wont criticize it or better still.. i hope its not wrong

    1. It’s not ideal, but you can do it. Nobody’s expecting you to change your whole wardrobe for one pair of suspenders. Just don’t wear a belt at the same time as the suspenders.

      By the way, are people actually criticizing what you wear or are you just imagining that they are? A word to the wise: don’t get too worked up about what you think people might be thinking about the way you dress. Remember, your most stylish accessory is confidence.

  25. Would braces be suitable on a night out with friends? Thinking of wearing one for halloween and going in black chinos/black shirt, so a slim black one would be cool, right?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Nope. Your friends will not be friends with you any more if you wear braces.

      Just kidding, of course you can wear braces casually! Wearing black ones with a black shirt and black pants makes them pretty much solely functional since black on black and black won’t be visible.

  26. We are getting married next year and I am wanting my groomsmen to wear braces. We are having a garden wedding with tan pants, open collar white shirts with loose navy neck ties. My question is, is it best to match the braces to the neck ties or with the pants. My fiancé is concerned three stripes of navy may look too much! And what widths are best? The ties are quite wide at the bottom.
    Any advice greatly appreciated! This page is fantastic for ideas and advice

    1. Your fiancé has a good point, Andrew. Navy blue braces on white shirts will definitely stand out. Tan braces, like the ones you see at the top of this story, are a smart choice.

      By the way, when it comes to color matching, the key point to keep in mind is matching the leather tabs to your shoes. Brown Tabs = Brown Shoes. Black Tabs = Black Shoes.

      1. Scott Galinac says:

        Just jumped into the suspenders pool.. and enjoying the benefits. Thanks for the resource above! Now working through the styles and which goes with which.. and which combos work for me.
        I have a pair brown suspenders with black leather tabs. I’ve been wearing them with brown shoes, thinking brown with brown.. but now reading to match the leather. In the end, I feel what works for me is all that matters.. (within reason).. and these brown / black suspenders are sort of exceptional with how they match. Any thoughts? How hard and fast are the tabs shoes rule, especially in this brown & black situations?

        1. Hmmm…those brown with black tabs suspenders open up a whole can of matching worms. That is, if you’re a slave to the dictums of matching. We say break those chains! Wear them with either black or brown shoes as you see fit.

          Now, you might find yourself in a situation where brown is definitely the way to go. Maybe you’ll have on a brown suit with an earthy shade of tie and some killer brown shoes. In that case, the black tabs would be distractingly off. The solution is quite simple: get more suspenders. Get some all-brown ones and some that work with black and shades of gray and you’ll be all set.

  27. Suspenders are uncommon where I am. I get weird looks from people. Every. Single. Time. I tend to wear them under my shirt these days.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      I say let them look! They clearly have no concept of old-school cool, and you’ll start losing this cool if you keep wearing them under your shirt. Wear them loud & proud! (unless dress code says otherwise.)

    2. Rowe suspenders are pretty uncommon everywhere so in and of itself don’t let that stop you. Personally I’ve gotten used to being the only one wearing them. The glaring exception was being late for a flight and discovering that I was middle seat between two other men wearing suspenders and no one else wearing them on the entire flight. Truthfully I felt little weird and I don’t really know why.

      But seriously if you’re uncomfortable wearing them then don’t stress yourself out over it, no one says you have to. They are nothing more or less than an alternative to a belt. If you like them, wear them, if not then don’t.

      Wearing them under your shirt gets everyone wondering if you secretly like them but are too much of a coward to wear them out :) Joking aside, good luck with it.

      1. We men have a tendency to make way too much of a simple accessory and get all tied up in knots about what other people may think about how we wear something. Ken’s right, Rowe, don’t stress over it. The easiest way to ruin your style is to be self-conscious about it. Remember, confidence is your best accessory.

  28. i recently began wearing suspenders and bow-ties (at the age of 67).
    toss on a bow, braces, and bowler and off i go.
    for me me works with just about everything, especially jeans.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Off to the races? This sounds like a hell of a high profile derby get-up, I like it. Keep doing you, Steve, you’re the living meaning behind our term “old-school cool.”

  29. I’m a police detective that enjoys the classic look of suspenders when not wearing a jacket however, because I wear a weapon and holster at work would you frown at the idea of wearing a belt with suspenders?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A belt and suspenders serve the same purpose so wearing both is like putting on shoes and then putting on another pair of bigger shoes over those. But a holster is not a belt. A holster serves a totally different purpose (holding your weapon), so wearing suspenders with a holster around your waist can work.

      That said, results may vary. We’re not too well-versed in gun-toting style so we’d have to see it to make a true recommendation, but we commend your commitment to bringing some style to your work!

  30. If I want to wear a Carolina blue shirt with khakis, brown boots and a straw hat type Fadora would suspenders go with this outfit? and if so what color?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Suspenders go with any outfit, John! The rule of thumb is the same as belts, the color of the leather on the suspenders should match the color of the leather on your shoes. So choose some suspenders with brown leather tabs and you’ll be all set. As for the color of the fabric on the suspenders, that’s your preference. We love neutral suspenders because you can get a lot of wear out of them. A pair of tan ones will get you through tons of situations. Thinking beyond just this one outfit, tan, navy blue and gray are versatile colors that’ll work with lots of outfits.

  31. mark saniez says:

    Going to school here in France me as a boy aged 13 and my 2 twin sisters aged 11 in summer we would wear short trousers all 3 of us with big buttons and leather end braces ,and our nylon buttoned overall obligatary and worn by everybody in France in the 60’s,70’s,and 80’s,we liked wearing them +all 3 of us our heads were shaved very short thanks to mum’s electric hair shaver,but that too was the norm in those days!In winter we wore bell bottom trousers to go to school again with big buttons and our leather end braces,an our schoolmates girls and boys too wore either the short trousers or long bell bottom trousers with the apparant big buttons along with the leather end braces,I rememeber latter on when I was getting on to 15/16 I still wore the same thing ,and my sisters too and our neighbours having a girl of 17 and wearing too bell bottom trousers with theese braces once I pulled them in the back and it made a big ” schlack sound” she she did’nt like it at all and she put me on the floor pavement and managed to undo my braces and tie them around a drain pipe saying “how do you like that little brat!,and I had to call my sisters to get freed,but it served me as a lesson as to never pull a girl or ladies braces !anyhow it was fun and this type of clothing with it’s leather end braces lasted till the 80’s !

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A valuable lesson learned, indeed, Mark! Not sure if our egos could have survived being tied to a drain pipe by our braces. Kudos to you for making it out of that situation intact!

  32. I remember when going to school in england from 1956 to 1962 I wore ,like most of the boys grey tergal short trousers down to the knee and high waisted with buttons inside to attach my leather end braces allways pulled up hard by mum,and the girls wore long grey pleated skirts with large buttoned straps ,some of the girls wore theese skirts with straps up to 16.Coming back to me even on sundays and going out I had to wear a 2 piece suit a jacket and short trousers again with buttons and leather end braces up to 14 too,sometimes i argued with mum but there was no where out I still had to put this kind of suit with it’s braces +every time I got spanked on my buttocks and legs by my mother with a long and flat ruler,howcome at 14 years old she still saw me as a mere little boy

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The first rule of business is that “mum’s” always right. It sounds to me like she was trying to inflict some serious swagger, not pain, on you as a young gent. My guess is, since you’re reading this post, that you still dress to the nines, right? Thank your mum for that.

  33. What’s up!First of all,this is a sick website!You are awesome BlackLapel. I am a 17 year old dude who loves suspenders/braces and wear a bowtie at least 5 days a week.i like to get creative with my outfits and bracers but i as I’m still quite young I was unsure if a black button would work with brown corteroys and navy suspenders.I don’t have any navy pants so i’ve been tryin to find ways to work my navy braces in.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Black and brown is a tough combination to pull off, Noah. We recommend sticking with white shirts with those brown corduroys and navy suspenders.

      Come to think of it, we wouldn’t suggest suspenders with any black shirts. Anything but black suspenders will clash and black suspenders make us wonder why you’d even bother. But that’s us. At 17, you’ve got plenty of time to develop your style and maybe the black shirt suspenders look will become your thing.

      Stay stylish, Noah.

  34. darrieuscoates says:

    Whould wearing a white shirt,khakis,tan loafers work with suspenders and a bow tie and how what are some colors that can work

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That is as neutral an outfit as they come. That means you can wear any color of suspenders you want with the exception of black, which would clash with all of the khaki and brown in your outfit. Don’t overthink it. Pick your favorite color and wear them with confidence.

  35. Hi! I bought a pair of gray suspenders that came along with a bow tie. The tie matches the shirt. So do the suspenders. However I’m wearing khaki dockers for this event. Would that match? The event is next Saturday and I’m already excited to put this outfit together. Thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Gray and khaki can work. A pair of chinos may be a little casual for suspenders and a bow tie, though Patrick. We’ve seen guys pull off the chinos and suspenders look, but what do you say to swapping out the chinos for a pair of tailored pants?

  36. Hi Guys, I am still out here, just not been on the site for a while, too busy lol. Yes still pounding the pavemented getting guys to wear braces.

    I have started a new project and the client team we are working with has one young guy who wears braces, he just smiled when he saw me with mine on. I did say to him that he is in for a shock when he comes to our office as loads of guys there wear them, he is there for the first meeting next month, should be fun to see his reaction.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      A sartorial shock, Gordon. If he reacts like any well-dressed gentleman should, perhaps he’ll become the next Gordon of his office in terms of convincing everyone to wear braces! As always, keep us in the loop.

  37. rishabh jain says:

    Hello, i 20yr old, want to know wch color of suspender should i buy on linen printed shirt light brown color.
    does it look good with jeans
    I want to know wch color of jeans and shoes i hav to wear with it and should i wear belt with it

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Okay, lots to tackle here, Rishabh. We’re happy to help you dig out of this stylistic conundrum.

      Question 1: What color of suspenders would we suggest you wear with a light brown linen shirt?
      It sounds like you’re going for an old-school rugged braces look. In which case, you may want to try some X-back braces like these by Filson, in tan.

      Question 2: Does it look good with jeans?
      Yes. Yes it does.

      Question 3: What color jeans and shoes should you wear?
      To finish off the rugged western look you’re going for here, traditional medium blue Levi’s would do the trick with some light brown shoes.

      Question 4: Should you wear a belt with suspenders?
      Absolutely not. Belts are for holding up your pants. So are suspenders. When two things serve the same purpose, choose one. You wouldn’t write with a pen and pencil at the same time. Don’t wear a belt and suspenders at the same time.

      Whew, we made it!

  38. I am a 16 yr old male, slightly chubby, and I’m wondering what colour suspenders will go well with my black school uniform ( shirt and trousers). I also have a compulsory black and red tie to go with.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You can’t go wrong with a simple black. We’ll assume your school shoes are black to match your uniform, so a good pair of black suspenders is a solid investment for a prepster like you. Maybe your second pair can include some red to complement your school-colored tie, but that’s for pair number two. Crawl before you walk with black ones.

  39. Wearing suspenders can make you feel comfortable because it holds up your pants. Me either I’m wearing suspenders it gives me style and comfort. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad we could help, Charles Kent. With a name like that, it sounds like you’ve got old-school cool written all over you and your suspender game.

  40. Hi re braces/suspenders, I’m just wondering what the tolerance/acceptance level is in regards to the leather straps and matching such with shoes. Come to think of it, same with the metals (i.e. with tie clip, watch, cufflink, etc).
    Is it okay to stand out from the usual and traditional stance of matching all the way through.
    E.g. does black suspender leather need to match with black shoes (over tan) and does gold suspender metal need to match with gold tie clip and cufflinks?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We usually match the leathers up all the way (i.e. brown shoes, brown leather tabs on the suspenders and brown bag). But that matching doesn’t need to be exact. It’s not like our cognac brown bag has to match our British tan shoes and caramel suspender tabs. In fact, we even throw the whole leather matching thing for a loop by mixing in oxblood shoes sometimes. The same goes for metals. We aren’t too hung up on it, but we try to stay in one color family (i.e. golds with golds and silvers with silver).

      You can have too much of a good thing, though. These kinds of details can drive you mad if you let them. We say don’t worry about following the letter of every law or you’ll end up with a paint-by-the-numbers look. Choose the rules you want to break wisely, remembering to only break one at a time and have fun with your look.

  41. Heya lads! How are the braces coming on? I now wear them daily.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It’s been quiet in the comments lately, but we’re sure Gordon is out there pounding the pavement and getting more guys to suspend their disbelief in braces.

      1. Last time I owned a belt was in the 90’s, I’m thinking the poor thing may have died of loneliness.

        As for Gordon, I’ve been on the lookout for someone wearing pink braces for several months now; hasn’t happened yet. I suspect when I do I’ll have found Gordon :)

  42. Secret Santa success…Both the guys in our office opened their braces as a secret santa gift today (well planned scam lol) The both laughd and knew right away it was a fix but they joined in the fun and put them on there and then, with a little help from the rest of us. Both did comment that they had tried to resist but could not any longer.

    They both did say they were surprised how good they felt to wear and said they suited the look better than they thought they would. We got them both Navy Blue dual clip ones as they both tend to wear blue shirts etc.

    Can’t wait to here how they got on when they go home with braces on and also to see if they wear them to work again tomorrow. Nice result I think

    1. Victory!

      Glad the Secret Suspender Santa plan worked out. Now we need to see some pictures of this decked out office! Tag us on Instagram, if you’re into that sort of thing, or just do it the old-fashioned way and email some pics to concierge@blacklapel.com.

  43. For a long time now my fiancé has been wanting suspenders and shirt stays that also hold your socks up. I’m trying to be sneaky about it as a Christmas present but I have no clue where to start. What color should I get if he has only black suits? His ties are normally reds or blues. Is there a brand that you might suggest or one that I should avoid? I’m lost

    1. Sounds like you’ve got a fan of old-school style for a future hubby, Hannah. If he’s just starting off with suspenders, our advice is to stick with neutral colors. If he’s got black suits, try suspenders in shades of gray or black with subtle patterns like this. We like the convertible ones from British Belt Company that we linked to above for guys who are new to wearing braces. That’s because he won’t need buttons sewn into his pants to attach them.

      We hope this helps, and for more stylish gift ideas, check out our 2014 gift guide.

  44. Secret Santa…We have a couple of guys in our office who have never joined in wearing bracers at work , in fact they have both never even tried a pair on so we have decided that we will get them a pair in our Secret Santa gift.

    We each buy an anonymous gift and put it in the box for the Xmas pary so we are going to trick them into each getting a pair of braces as their gift, the guy doing the gift selection is in on the gag and will make sure they both get the correct gift. Silly I know but a great way to force these couple of guys to join the braces gang. I am sure we can convince them to try them on once they open their present. Are we just big kids or not lol.

    1. Got something specific in mind, Gordon. May we suggest a pair of solid navy and solid khaki to get these guys started with easy to match pairs?

      Also, if they’re not braces guys they won’t be likely to have buttons sewn into their pants, but don’t let them off the hook that easy. Giving them convertible braces like those featured above, will give them the option to wear them with anything.

      And, since you mentioned Secret Santa, you may want to wear something like this when you give the gifts.

  45. Thanks for the quick response! Is it ever okay for the jeans to be lighter than the braces?

    1. Sure, Baxter, you might wear navy braces with mid-blue jeans (or khaki chinos). It’s all good.

  46. Hi, I’m a 16-year old (slightly fat) male who’s fed up with belts and wants to try something different. I personally think suspenders look really good and I want to start wearing them with blue jeans and grey/white/black/blue t-shirts. I was wondering what colour I should get, I don’t want my friends to think I’m weird when I unzip my hoodie or take off my jacket. I’ll buy a new shirt if necessary. Please help, I’ll give you a free internet cookie.

    1. Neutrality is the name of the game when you’re first starting out, Baxter. A pair of solid navy blue or tan suspenders will go with just about everything in your wardrobe and don’t scream “Hey, look at me, everybody, I’ve got on braces!”

      Of course, you’re talking about wearing something that is a bit unconventional for a 16-year-old. (Well, maybe ultra-conventional is a better way of putting it. After all, there was a time when plenty of young men went around in suspenders all the time.) So it may take some time for your friends to warm up to the style. That’s their problem. We say you should wear what works for you.

  47. Found a pair of black leather braid braces with a black elastic back section. These were recommended by you guys for wearing with my Tartan(Plaid) shirt and I have to say they go great. My shirt is a mixture of colours but mainly Red tartan and worn with jeans, these leather braces makes a great look.

    I think they will go well with many of my casual shirts and T-shirts.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    1. YES! Picture us high-fiving, Gordon, because that’s what we’re doing!

      We know we’re doing something right with our recommendations if we can recommend you a pair of braces. We’re so glad to hear that they worked out.

  48. Hi, I’m thinking about buying braces made by Hold Up. I have white shirt with red/blue criss-cross lines, pink shirt, dark blue linen shirt, blue/black buffalo plaid shirt and bunch o’ white t-shirt. I also have one brown herringbone sport jacket, Grey glen check coat, purple baseball jacket, grey cardigan, and beige/indigo buffalo plaid overshirt. For pants, I got dark blue jeans, khaki and dark blue chinos. I got one pair of black sneakers and one brown Doc Martin’s brogues.

    Based on my wardrobe collection, in what color should I buy my first braces? I’m currently thinking about getting a grey one.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Gray is definitely neutral enough for any outfit, so that’s a good choice. Other neutrals, like tan will work. And, of course, there’s Michigan blue 😉

      We would avoid black right off the bat since they’ll up the formality a bit and it sounds like you’re going for a laid back vibe.

  49. I am too embarrassed to even count how many pairs of braces I have and yes Ken I do think I need to spill over into a 2nd drawer or maybe just a good clear out would help. Thing is I like to mix and match colours and also I wear button braces to work and sometimes do the casual clip-ons at weekends with jeans etc. I went from skinny braces to the wider ones and then back to a mid-width so I ended up with the same colous in different widths and styles. Yes I think I have gone a bit overboard with the braces.

    Oh yes I thibnk I own 2 belts, one Black and one Brown lol.

    1. Two belts! Now things are getting juicy.

      While everyone’s in the mood to confess to the sin of belt ownership, we thought this would be a good time to remind everyone that the braces seen above were all supplied to The Compass courtesy of the British BELT Company. What can we say? They make some really nice belts!

    2. Gordon, I suspect, statistically speaking, you and I are at the low end of the belt ownership curve for the average male. I’m sticking to my notion that the average male has about a dozen belts. Strictly for reference I have 0 belts, but they are all of British manufacture.

      Regarding going overboard … no worries I’ve got that covered. I mentioned last time that my wife likes to shop. What I didn’t mention was that she likes to make suspenders and the shopping has to do with finding the material for them. According to her they arent hard to make and the quality of the ones she makes is at least as good as the ones you can buy. I will say that the aesthetics of the colors and patterns results can vary widely. However getting back to numbers issue, there was a sort of natural limit on the number of suspenders that could be made that was loosely based on the numbers of clips and adjusters available; she was pretty much forced to recycle old ones of mine or find at thrift stores. This was great until random chance destroyed the natural balance.

      Four years ago we went on vacation on a very large cruise ship. Of the thousands of family’s on that ship, exactly two guys wore suspenders. As fate would have it our families got assigned the same dinner table; no surprise that the subject of suspenders came up a few times and it turned out the other guy owned a suspender manufacturing company. During another of the conversations my wife lamented the fact that she was forced to use recycled suspender components because she couldn’t find decent ones. Two weeks after we got home, a box, about the size you associate with paper for a copy machine arrived, filled with clips and adjusters . .. literally hundreds.

      Two years later I had 3 drawers full of suspenders and fourth not far away. I mentioned before that I have about a dozen I use regularly; I didn’t mention the storage container in the attic. The truly scary thing is that the box of clips and adjusters is still more than ¾ full.

      Absolutely no need to be too embarrassed to count yours Gordon.

      Cheers mate !!!

  50. Hi Alan,

    I would suggest the Y-back as they are much more stylish and feel good.

    Guys I have decided not to wear braces with my tuxedo as I have just bought a new one and the trousers are slim fit and I think bracs would take away the smart fit they have. Will be strange not wearing braces but the side adjusters make them a good slim fit. Going to go with the Black cumberbund with a Royal Blue flash stipe across it and a matching bow tie with a blue knot. Tried it on last nite and it looks very smart. Will sebnd a picture.

    Just have to add the Royal Blue braces I bought for my Tuxedo into my collection for everyday wear braces, think I need a bigger drawer now to hold them all lol.

    1. Not wearing braces, Gordon?! We never thought the day would come. Well, you have a good reason.

      We would definitely like to see some pics. Enter them into our #SuitCity weekly giveaway and you could win some stylish stuff.

    2. Now I know the world has spun off its axis. Gordon passing up an opportunity to wear those pink braces he’s been going on about. Well at least he hasn’t gone over to the dark side and wearing a …a… a belt (OMG the horror!!!).

      Come to think of it; pink braces, black cummerbund with a blue splash … something is bound to clash.

      I have a wife that likes to shop so I have to manage my suspender collection carefully. Last night I was doing some of that management. I had 15 pair. Somewhere in this email thread someone suggested that if you were going to wear suspenders regularly 5 or 6 pair would be about right. I thought; oh gosh (ok, maybe not “gosh”) I’ve become a clothes horse. Then I thought about it some more; of those 15, I wear 10 of them regularly (i.e. at least once a month). Based on that, I don’t think 5 or 6 would cover the average male’s wardrobe. It would be mildly interesting to know how many belts the average male has. Personally I think a dozen would not be out of the question (e.g. black, brown, shiny, wide, thin, dress, casual etc). I’m probably rationalizing but; a dozen-ish suspenders didn’t seem all that excessive to me when looked at that way. Anyway, as new ones show up from my wife’s shopping expeditions I tend to take the ones that have (a) gotten beaten up, (b) dirty, (c) migrated to the bottom of the drawer (d) my wife’s less inspired choices and donate them to Good Will.

      Message to Gordon, Go Big!!! get another drawer :)

      1. Black Lapel says:

        Well, Ken, your original assessment, that you’ve become a clotheshorse is probably true, but there’s no shame in that. That puts you in the company of gents like Cary Grant. Not bad if you asked us.

        As for how many pairs of braces a man should have, it’s a sliding scale. In your case, a dozen is definitely justified because you’re putting them to regular use. Others may not need so many. Still, there’s no judgement here. We say stay suspended!

  51. Would you recommend Y back or X back braces? Which would give the best support and which looks better?

    1. It’s kind of a personal preference, Alan, but it’s also a matter of availability. The Y-back kind are much easier to find. Many X-backs have been relegated to more casual use. Though you can, if you do a lot of searching, dig up X-back braces, Y-back gives you a lot more options. Plus the buttons on most pants will be in the center of the back, so you’ll want a Y-back to work with those pants.

      By the way, in case you missed it, we dug a little deeper into this topic in our Bringing the XY Back to Suspenders story.

  52. Hi Guys, I am attending a Black Tie function later this monmth and was going to go for a different colour bow tie and cumberbund and was thinking about wearing matching coloured braces. What do you think. I know people say braces are not meant to be seen but I don’t follow that rule. I know the jackets will be off later in the evening so I wanted to show a flash of colour. Thinking about Royal Blue. Good idea or not or should I stick to Black?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This is a tricky one, Gordon. If the event is truly black tie formal, then we’d suggest following the letter of the law and wearing a black tie. That would mean a black cummerbund as well. Of course, if you think the room will be a little more festive and black tie can be interpreted a bit, then playing around a bit with your accessories is more acceptable.

      We still like an actual black tie and cummerbund with our tuxes, even when feeling playful. What about this?: If it’s a truly black tie formal event, stick with white or black braces (or perhaps black with white pindots, for a little flair). If the definition of black tie is a little more liberal, we say keep the tie and cummerbund black, but make the braces punchy with a bright colored solid or even a patterned pair. This ensures that you’ve followed the rules either way, but you’ve interpreted them based on your style.

      For more on this, check out our pieces on Black Tie 101 (the traditional look) and Beyond Black Tie (an irreverent take on the traditional look).

  53. Whats the recomended lengt? i have Y suspenders and have trouble getting them right, sometimes they fall off my shoulder when i sit down or be really tight when i stand up.

    Thanks

    1. Getting the length right is a truly individual thing, Arthur. Cinch the braces until you can just start to feel them pulling when you’re standing. Then loosen them by a quarter to half-inch and they’ll fit you just fine when you’re seated or standing.

      From one pair to another the sweet spot of perfect length will change but the above method should get you in the ballpark of the perfect fit every time.

  54. Hey guys I love the idea of the braided leather braces I think they would have gone perfect with my red tartan (Plaid) shirt. I checked the reviews on these and one says they have white elastic on the back, I don’t like the sound of that would prefer leather all over or at least maybe just a bit black elastic at the botton of the back.

    I am sure I have a pair of skinny black solid leather braces somewhere but not seen or worn them in a very long while, I will need to have a look for these, hope I have not thrown them out.

    I think I will have a look around and see if I can bet a pair of braided ones without the white elastic on the back.

    Result at work…A couple of young guys who we deal with and have regular meetings with in another company have both started to wear braces. They turned up to one of our metings the other week both wearing braces and said if they could not beat us they would join us. They said after seeing so many of they guys in our office wearing braces they decided to give them a go and both worn them to the meeting the other week. They have said they are now wearing them in their own office now and again and going to stick with them. So funny when guys see other guys wearing braces they want to follow and feel less shy about wearing them beside other braces wearer.

    1. More converted braces wearers! We would say “another notch in your belt,” Gordon, but you don’t wear belts so that would just be wrong!

      As for the braided leather braces, afraid you’ve got us stumped. It looks like all that are available online come with an elastic section. The good news is, the elastic doesn’t have to be white, so if you’re looking to minimize the elastic in your look, perhaps you could try a pair like these from Ralph Lauren.

      Cheers!

  55. Have persevered with my braces over the Summer (they are so much more comfortable than a belt), and now generally feel more at ease if they are on show. I still don’t set out to show them without a jacket, but if it gets hot, then I will. Cannot think of a single occasion when anyone has made a negative comment. My colleagues at work now often wear braces as well, and my younger brother has “borrowed” a pair on a few occasions. Even my builder (a lad of about 19) asked if they were comfortable, and where did I buy them. So I now wonder why I was so nervous about being caught in them, and why more guys don’t give them a try.

    1. As you’ve seen firsthand, wearing braces is contagious. Once you see the light, it’s hard to go back!

      Well done, Mal!

  56. OMG wore a belt today for the first time in ages. I got a new tartan collar-less grandad shirt to wear with my blue skinny jeans and brown brouge shoes for casual dress-down Friday but could not think what colour or style of braces to wear, nothing seemed to go with tartan.

    Ended up wearing a brown belt, it feels so strange, even the guys at work have asked whats wrong with me today wearing a belt. I have had more time making excuses for wearing a belt than I ever got when I first started to wear braces. How stange is that? Any ideas guys what braces would ever go with a tartan shirt?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Wow, we never thought we’d see the day you’d wear a belt, Gordon! Let’s see what we can do to get you back in your good braces.

      Since tartan shirts are busy, we would recommend solid color braces. You had the right idea with a brown belt, and we found the perfect cross between belt and brace. Check out these braided leather braces, which are convertible to accommodate your skinny jeans, formal wear, and everything in between.

    2. Gordon, now I really have to laugh and say I told you so. Please see my reply of 3 March 2014 point (2). It covers the events that transpire after a sudden, inexplicable and irrational decision of a confirmed braces wearer to wear a belt. You might think the world had spun off its axis.

      In direct answer to your question of suspenders (american terminology) with a tartan shirt. I have to confess I wasnt entirely sure what a tartan shirt was until I googled it. In America we call it plaid. As an alternative to the moderators suggestion, I would be tempted to wear solid colored braces, probably not pink, to match one of the non-dominant vertical colors in the pattern.

      1. Black Lapel says:

        LOL, Ken!

        Yes, solid braces will do the trick for sure. In Gordon’s case we knew we’d have to suggest something he might not have in his arsenal (hence the leather) but for most guys, solid would be a strong choice.

  57. Hi guys! I’ve been giving the braces a go for a while, worn them to certain events like weddings and just around the house, going out and stuff. People have been giving me loads of compliments, and I wear them pretty much every day now! Thanks to everyone on here who gave me support and helped me to start wearing them in public!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This is great news, James! Keep it up.

  58. I’m going on a booze cruise in Chicago this weekend. Not everyone will be dressing up but I have my own style so I could care less. I’m new to the braces game but I love them.. I bought a pair of tan (khaki) braces. What color shirt/pants do you recommend wearing them with? My shoes will match the leather straps of the braces, obviously. Just wrestling with what color shirt/pants. Thanks, love the blog.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We love a white shirt with khaki braces for a classic summer color combo. This works especially well with earth tone pants (like khaki, brown or olive).

      A light blue shirt with khaki braces (like the look in the photo at the top of this story) is another fine choice. Pair this with navy pants if you really want to dress in line with the seafaring theme of the cruise.

  59. Hi Guys, not been on here for a while but had to drop you a note to tell you this. I have been invited to a wedding in London next month and on the invite the dress code says “Male Guests:- The groomsmen are going semi-casual without wearing formal jackets, only shirts & braces so please join them and dress cool but, stylish for the hot weather”

    Wow can’t wait to go and see how many guys turn up wearing braces, could be an all time record. May have to buy a new pair just for the wedding.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Bring your camera, Gordon. We want to see pics!

      Who knows? This could become a warm weather wedding trend.

  60. This is such a nice and helpful guide for men trying to wear suspenders. Thanks for putting together this guide and even making it nice and presentable with pictures!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad you liked the piece. We’re happy to fly the suspenders flag.

  61. In Spain there is a company that makes handmade straps since 1881, http://www.tirantesalsina.com

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Good find, Juan-Pablo!

  62. I have found that wearing braces really highlights the shape of my bum, which is something that I really want to avoid as it looks unattractive. Any tips?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You need to do three things, Joseph: adjust, then adjust and then, one more time, adjust.

      It sounds like your braces are pulling your pants up too much. Those little sliders on the front will let you fix this problem. Stand up and loosen them until they don’t pull your pants up (accentuating your backside) but just hold your pants at your waist.

      If that doesn’t work, it’s probably a sign that your pants don’t fit properly. No amount of fiddling with suspension will fix a poor fit. If you can’t get the look you want it may be time to take those pants to the tailor (or consider custom pants).

  63. Bridal Gowns Albany says:

    I am really glad that I have found this post and I thank you for letting us know about this information….This is a big help for sure!!Thanks!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad to help. As you can see from the comments above, you’re not alone.

      Happy suspending!

  64. Accessories for men says:

    i think, belts can have a greater tendency to slide down a round stomach.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Agreed. Also, belts draw a line across a round stomach, highlighting its roundness. Yet another reason more men ought to work braces into the rotation.

  65. Oh Goodness come on Steven, never heard the phrase Belt & Braces.
    Never should the two be worn together !!! Once you have tried braces the right way, either clip or button ends you will see and feel how good they are and discard your belt for ever. I can’t remember the last time I wore a belt, I think it was with dress shorts a few weeks ago and I recall it took a long time to find where I had put it.

    Most people find once you have tried out braces they will become your number 1 choice for style and comfort. I have a drawer full of braces in every colout and style you can imagine and I think I have 1 belt lol.

    Please don’t ever wear belt & braces together.

  66. Why do they make suspenders that attach to the belt if you’re not supposed to wear them together at all? Is there any way of wearing both together?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It sounds like you’re referring to the clip-on style of suspenders. The clips are intended to clip on to the pants, not the belt. The reason you wear a belt is to hold up your pants, which is the same reason you wear suspenders.

      Wearing both suspenders and a belt is kind of like writing the same thing twice.
      Wearing both suspenders and a belt is kind of like writing the same thing twice.

      It looks kind of silly doesn’t it? Instead of overkill, opt for one method or the other and you’ll be happy you did, Steven.

  67. Hi, Thank you for such a quick response. I will have to start shopping for some braces for him. Also the colour choices sound great. Thank you for the advice.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Happy to oblige, Sharon. Good luck getting started!

  68. Hi, My husband is a young looking 68 year old and slightly overweight with a belly and always has trouble with his trousers staying up. A belt doesn’t really help and he thought he could wear braces instead. Not sure if they are worn here much in Australia and he doesn’t want to feel silly at his age. Have read your comments and feel if he coordinates things together they should look fine. What are your thoughts?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Braces are an excellent choice. Rather than cutting a horizontal line across the belly, they’ll suspend your pants creating clean vertical lines and helping to smooth the transition between stomach and legs.

      As appropriateness, tell him not to fear whether the kids these days are wearing them (although, a lot are), braces are classic menswear and show timeless style. Keep it simple at first, solid blues, grays, and tans are a great starting point for a collection.

      Our only words of warning: once he gets them on, he may never want to take them off!

  69. Thanks for your attention, suggestions and detail replies.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Anytime, Michael. And props to Gordon (see below) who always bring knowledge to these comments too.

  70. Whilst it only took a few days to repair our office central heating, it has certainly given a boost to those of us who wear braces (for comfort but feel guilty at letting the rest of the world know!) Three other guys have broken ranks and now happily work at their desks in braces, so with me that makes 4 out of 11 so far. Yet I still feel slightly uncomfortable although I have received a number of compliments from the ladies – what is wrong with me?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sounds like there’s something right with you if you’re getting compliments from the ladies. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  71. Hi Michael, Yeah t-shirts can be a bit tricky with braces you have to be careful about what type of t-shirt you wear. Maybe try a polo shirt as they can look stylish but watch you don’t end up looking like a shin-head thug.

    For the casual look try a collar-less grandad shirt, with maybe with the sleeves rolled up for the real vintage look. This look suits a pair of wide striped braces with button end as it looks like the old 30’s style, very cool.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’re right about the old-school style of the band collar/granddad shirt.

      Another bit of solid council from you, Gordon. In fact, you inspired us to suggest a yet another option for Michael (see our reply above).

  72. Hi,
    Can i wear t shirts with suspenders/braces?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Of course you can Michael, but it’s a move that’s fraught with style danger. If you’re built like Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire then you can give this look a try, otherwise we say steer clear of this high-low style mashup.

      1. Black Lapel says:

        Another idea, Michael, would be to go with a Henley shirt (like this) and suspenders. It’s a step up from the casualness of a T-shirt but still pretty laid back.

  73. Result today at work, the summer student has turned up wearing braces.

    Totally out of the blue he arrived this morning not even wearing a jacket to hide them but sporting a nice white shirt and a pair of blue with small white spots clip-on braces. He just walked in as if he has worn braces all his life, well I suppose in our office it does not look out of place to wearing braces anyway. I had a chat to him and he said he bought them at the weekend and waited till Friday to wear them to work. He said the rest of the other guys looked so good with braces on that he just had to try a pair for himself. I think he is looking to wear them out with his mates this weekend as well, no hang-ups about being seen wearing braces from him then.

    I did point him to this website and he has had a look at the other items too and I have noticed he has a good collection of striped sock and a few pair of coloured show laces so I think he is up there with the style icons.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Another stylish gent to add to the growing list around your office, Gordon! Who would have thought an accessory used to hold your pants up would start a movement?!

  74. Wretched air-conditioning broke down in the office today – it was so hot that I was finally forced to remove my jacket and let the world know that I was wearing braces, nothing flash, just a plain blue pair of medium clip-ons. I could feel a few pairs of eyes on me but nobody made any rude comments, just friendly banter. Still felt slightly embarrassed, but guess it will get better.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Necessity is not only the mother of invention. The need for air conditioning may be the mother of your new braces style, Mal!

      Glad to hear you came out of your shell, as it were.

  75. Hi, I have my high school prom in a few days, how many guys would you say will turn up wearing braces? I don’t want to be the only one!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Our completely uneducated guess is not many kids at prom will be in braces. That’s not because braces aren’t cool. It’s because most young’uns don’t know any better.

      If you’re going to the prom in a tux, braces are the way to go. Take a page from 007’s book and rock some white ones (pictured here).

  76. Another challenge at work… We have a new guy joined our team as a summer student and the first thing he asked was why do so many of the guys wear braces. We had to laugh and I think I got the blame for it. We told him it just started with me and others followed. We have told him if he is going to work in our team he will need to follow the dress code. He just laughed and said he would see what he could do.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Ha! That’s fantastic. Please send a link to this article.

      Also, you tell him to click around for coverage of more style topics, lest he thinks you’ve sent him to an all-braces website ;).

  77. Nothing wrong with letting your braces be seen in public. I bet that if you wear braces and try and keep them hidden everyone who you work with or are around will know anyway as its difficult to keep them hidden all the time, they always pop out and show the ends or even under a waistcoat the peek out at the shoulder. So I think if you were to reveal your braces to your workmates and friend they would not be surprised at all, more likely ask why you never shower them off before.

    As for the underwear thing, just look about at how many guys go about with their underwear on show, if not the waistband sometimes their jeans are so low down you can see half their pants. I must admit I like to show a bit of underwear waistband above my jeans, no point in buying Aussiebum or Armani underwear and not letting people know you have them on. So why should braces be thought of as underwear, not relevant anymore in this day and age.

    I think guys should just wear their braces out and proud and the more guys we see like this the more others will follow and not feel awkward about wearing them on show.

    Go for it Mal, just wear them out a few times and see what reaction you get, you will be surprised. Hey at least you won’t die from wearing braces in public lol.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Here here, Gordon! We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

  78. Cannot believe the amount of interest this thread has generated since I visited last October. I have persevered with my braces (my gf insisted), and I really like the support they provide, but I still keep them hidden in public. I just have a mental block – I know they are no longer regarded as underwear, and my Dad and older brother wear them out loud and proud (well perhaps not, but have no problem in being seen wearing them), yet I just feel afraid of being seen with them on, even just driving my car. Why? HELP!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Glad to hear you’re still going strong with the braces, Mal.

      As for your fear of showing the braces, you may have identified the problem already. They aren’t regarded as underwear, but if you feel like they’re underwear you’ll feel awkward being seen in them. Consider this set of pictures of Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper in braces. Brando makes them look like underwear, wearing them off the shoulder with nothing but a tank-top. (Of course, when you look like Brando did back in the day, this is a perfectly acceptable way to walk around in public.) But, as you can see in the photo on the right, Gary Cooper wears his braces proudly (with those killer buttons on the outside of his pants) and keeps his formality. Nobody would accuse Coop of wearing anything inappropriate or being out of style, though. Quite the opposite, he’s clearly dressed to the nines.

      Okay, so you may not look like a classic movie star, Mal, but you can definitely take a page out of these gents’ books and wear your braces like Gable and Cooper do here without fear of reproach.

    2. Hello,
      I am an usher in an upcoming wedding. I was asked to wear khakis, a blue sports coat, white button up and a gold tie that will be provided. I was planning to wear a pair of blue suspenders as opposed to a belt. The suspenders I bought are clip ons, not buttons. Are the clip ons not formal enough for the outfit? Does it matter that my khakis have belt loops on them? Should the blue suspenders which match the coat look fine?

      1. If you want to rock the suspenders as a style move, clip ons are not ideal because they can detract from the formality of the look. Open belt loops can look a bit awkward too.

        If the suspenders are more about function than fashion, and just there to keep your pants up, then the solution to the problem is simple, keep the jacket on and nobody will notice the open belt loops or clip-on suspenders.

  79. Can you wear a belt with braces?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Sorry Charlie, but that’s a big no-no. Braces hold up your pants, belts do too. What would be the point of wearing both a belt and braces? Unless you play for the Washington Generals and regularly run the risk of getting pants’ed, you shouldn’t need that much pants holding equipment.

  80. Think I have pushed the boat out a bit to too far with the braces today. I bought a pair of Pink braces on-line and have been trying for days to build up the courage to wear them to work, and today I have. I stood in front of the mirror for ages this morning trying to see what tie & shirt went with and if I was even going to wear them at all. Went for a fine Blue/White stripe shirt and a dark navy tie and these wild pink braces.

    I took my jacket off in work and right away a few people commented at the Pink braces, the first comments I have had about my braces for a long time so it must have been the colour that did it. As I have said before lots of guys now wear braces in my office but most are conservative colours, some maybe the odd regimental stripe down them but I think my Pick ones today have made a new statement. Not sure many will follow this trend lol.

    The question is should braces be boring or a bit wild? I just thought if your going to wear braces then why not…they make then is Pink so someone must buy them.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      For the record, we love pink braces with a navy suit and white shirt to add, to use an over-used term “a pop of color.”

      There’s really no right answer, though, Gordon. If your style is more subdued, try a more subdued pair of braces with a solid shirt and reserved tie. And, of course, the truly shy braces wearer who’s looking mainly for functionality can just keep his jacket on or wear his braces under the vest of a three-piece suit. If you like little more intrigue in your look, you can achieve that with solid braces in stronger colors, or patterned braces (just keep the shirts solid or pretty tame if you’re going to wear patterned braces). It’s really up to the wearer.

      In your case, because you rock the braces regularly, chalk up the extra response to the fact that you stepped out there with a stronger color. That just shows that you’ve become a bit of a style icon.

    2. Gordon given that your a bit of a braces zealot, I suspect that most of the world around you would forgive you more than most for wearing pink braces.

      Pink braces to me have at least two issues. First, I think pink braces have less of a “wild” issue associated with and more of a perceived masculinity issue. Thats probably not fair to the color pink, but when I think pink I think female. The second is, that its not an easy color to match with. My closet is filled with grey, black, tan, blue or brown. Honestly there just isnt a lot to match with pink. I suspect I could get it to work I think it would take a lot more thought to make work than I would be willing to put into it.

      Should braces be boring or wild? I think thats a matter of the definition of wild. My definition of wild is defined as whether I would wear them in a professional setting. As an example if I had a fire engine red pair on and I was giving a presentation to a professional audience, Im afraid it would become all about the braces. I was in one meeting a few years ago where that happened and the conversation after the presentation was all about the braces rather than what the gentlmen had to say. I guess you can make the same case about pink ones but I can’t bring myself to say they are wild.

      On the other hand I have a pair with the Warner Brothers cartoon character “Tasmanian Devil” on them. I consider those cool and love to wear them but … a little wild for the same reason as fire engine red ones and would not wear in a professional setting. On the other hand they work fine for casual Fridays.

      Bottomline I think its all about context.

      1. Black Lapel says:

        You’re correct, it is all about context, Ken.

        We will, respectfully, disagree with you about pink, though. But that’s kind of your point, huh Ken? It all comes back to individual preferences and interpretations of what is appropriate.

  81. Yeah James if guys see others wearing braces they are more likely to follow, we all like to feel we are in a group or team. The real individual is the guy who goes out and wears braces alone and sets the trend. I did not see the bit on TV about braces but I have had a few people comment to me before when they have seen others wearing braces saying that the trend must be spreading or things like that.

    I just think if you like wearing braces for practical or style reasons you should just go for it, you won’t get hurt wearing braces lol. I wear them for style as I just like the look of wearing braces and like to see other guys wearing braces as well. I would like to think that by me wearing braces out and about it will encourage other guys to try them out and maybe start wearing them as well. It worked in my work place, but I did do a bit of pushing to get some of the guys to switch over.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This is the way to set a trend. Don’t try, just wear what you like and what works for you and others will follow.

  82. Just seen the one show on BBC1, and they had a short video about braces! That would’ve been broadcasted to the whole country- do you think that will mean more and more men will wear them? That would be amazing!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It probably will lead to more men giving braces a try. Men can be a timid bunch when it comes to style but if we see someone wearing something well, a lot of guys will start to incorporate the look into their style.

      The funny thing about braces is that they’re not visible to most people. So maybe braces getting a little love on TV will help to show men the light. If not, though, it’ll just be our little style secret, James.

  83. I work in banking in London. Lots of my fellow colleauges wear braces, but I don’t know weather I should- I’ve never had any problems in wearing belts. I have tried them on before, but the braces just pulled my trousers up at the back too much making the trousers look clownish. If I am going to start wearing braces, could somebody tell me where I need to adjust the back piece to stop the back from rising up too far?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Getting the fit perfect is usually a matter of trial and error. On most braces you’ll adjust the front (around the chest area) to get the pants height just right. When you get a pair, try them on, sometime when you’re not in a rush to get out the door in the morning, and move the sliding adjusters around a bit. Try walking around a bit in them. Sit down in them. Essentially you want to wear them under normal conditions. Once you get it right, you can lock in the sizing and you’re good to go.

  84. Great article- interesting that the responses are continuing for so long.
    I have many suspenders– including button-ons both recent and that I wore in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when they were more popular. I have also bought newer trendier ones recently- seems like all the stores carry them.
    My suggestion for starting to wear suspenders is to try them with a suit or under a blazer first. People will notice them but they don’t stand out. With casual looks wear them under a coat or jacket and leave it on or take it off based on your comfort level. I have also worn the casual pants (Varvatos has made them for years) with the attached suspenders. Because the pants are made for them (buttons on the outside and no belt loops) it’s an easy look and because the pants have to be worn with the suspenders it doesn’t look like you’re being too bold.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      That’s fine advice, Mark. We suggest wearing them under a suit jacket (or even under a vest in a 3-piece ensemble) for guys who want the functionality of a great pair of suspenders.

      For those more interested in the aesthetics of them, your point about casual pants is great. We think casual pants with buttons for suspenders are pretty damn cool. Got any pics of yourself rocking this look, Mark? If so, please post a link so guys can see how sharp it looks.

  85. Yeah how did you get on James ?

    Great result today… We had our usual monthly client meeting today and 2 of the young guys turned up with braces on, bit of a surprise but nice to see. They said they both agreed to wear braces today as they knew a few of us would be sure to have them on as well, which we did. They both came into the meeting room and took of their suit jackets and sat down. There were 3 of us from our department at the meeting also with braces on and it was a bit of a topic of conversation before everyone arrived.

    They said they just liked the look and thought it would be good to join the braces club as they called it. Just shows that if more guys keep wearing braces others will follow and not feel awkward about wearing them, so a good example of how people line to follow style/fashion.

    I asked if they were both going to start wear them now at their own work and funny they both said together as long as they other guys wear his too. I did say I bet once they have worn them a few times and people see them often enough they won’t bother anymore about feeling awkward or being seen with braces on. A few of my work mates said the same thing about when they first started wearing braces, after a few times its no big deal.

  86. It went really well- all my mates really liked the look! My best friend Ben walked into topman, got a pair and put them on straight away! The only problem now is wearing them at home, because over the past few years I didn’t like the idea of braces, but now I do! I just can’t bring myself to wear them infront of my parents for some reason..

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Great to hear you gave it a try! Show your parents this string of comments and they’ll be convinced that you are well on your way to “dapper dude” status.

  87. Thanks so much for all the support! I’m going to try them out tomorrow as I’m going into town with my mates, I’ll see what happens then as it’s in a relaxed environment! Will let you know what happens.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’d love to hear how it went, James. Keep us in the loop.

  88. Hi James, Yes you wear your braces and go for it mate. I bet others will follow once they see you with yours on. it always happens. I wear mine out and about a lot and get loads of great comments from other guys when they see them, even random people in shops will comments that they like the braces look. You go for it mate and tell us how you get on, I started it in my office and now all the guys wear braces off/on at sometime during the week

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Solid council, Gordon (as if we would expect anything else from you!).

      Take note, James.

  89. What colour Braces would you reccomend I wear with a blue and white striped shirt? And how high should they pull up my trousers?

    1. Navy Blue would look great. Let your trousers hang naturally around your waist with the leg length just folding over your shoes. Don’t have the braces too short/tight so they are pulling your trousers up, that is not a good look. Check yourself in a full length mirror as well before you go out.

      Oscar Wilde once said “trousers should hang from the shoulder not from the waist”

    2. Black Lapel says:

      We believe braces with a striped shirt is a little much, Peter. It’s easy to slip into 80s Wall Street territory with this combo. We suggest starting with solid shirts. If that leaves you fiending for stripes, why not try striped braces like these?

      As for how high they should hold up your trousers, the answer is somewhat subjective, but we say, keep it simple. Wherever you wear your pants when you’ve got a belt on, wear your pants at the same place when you’ve got on braces.

  90. James its really more surprise of seeing you wearing them that people react to. Most people dont wear braces, so when someone does its something to talk and gossip about. Honestly you’ll get some comments on the first day, probably quite a few. Unless your doing something odd like using them to pull your trousers up to your armpits or something similar then most, if not all, will be of a positive nature like “I like those” or “those are cool” or …..

    On whether its cool to wear them or not, I think depends on whether your considered cool or not by your schoolmates outside of your immediate circle of friends. If your not considered cool by that wider circle then wearing braces isn’t going to help and may hurt if you’re the type to be hyper- sensitive to peoples comments. If you are in the middle or above in the “coolness” strata at your school, then wearing them will be cool and you might even start a trend. At the end of the day “coolness” has a lot more to do with you than the braces. You’ll have to make you own assessment of your placement in the “coolness” strata at your school.

    You asked for advice in your initial post, here are two suggestions if you’re nervous and want to ease into it.

    (1) Try wearing them outside of school when you’re in casual clothes around your home or out public with friends and see what reactions you get. With that experience you can decide whether to wear them to school or not.

    (2) When you try them the first time to school bring along a belt in your backpack, if the comments get too bad then you can just switch at a convenient moment.

    Hope that helps and good luck with whatever you decide.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      This is a great, and thoughtful answer, Ken. You’re right about the coolness thing. It’s more a matter of who you are, than what you wear.

      For the record, we believe confidence is cool, trying to be cool is the uncoolest thing you can do. So with that in mind, we say wear those braces confidently, James!

  91. I’m a 14 year old from the UK, i want to know weather I should wear braces to school with my suit. I go to Manchester Grammar school and I’m not sure weather the other lads will think braces are ‘uncool’! Any advice?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Perhaps the lads will think it’s uncool, there’s no accounting for taste. If you read the above and were inspired to try wearing braces, why let fear hold you back?

      If the other boys have nothing better to do with their time than mock the method you’re using to hold up your pants then they clearly have too much time on their hands and your teachers ought to be assigning more work. Nobody wants that, right?

      1. That’s fair enough- my mates don’t really do that, I’m just a bit weary about wearing them in public! Who knows? I might start a trend!

        1. Black Lapel says:

          You’re correct, James. Take a look at the exchange above with Gordon and his officemates for proof that you could, indeed, start a trend!

  92. Ken, Reading your experience sounds so familiar with everyone. I work in an office where I was once the only guy with braces on and slowly one by one other followed, like you say playing safe with black and blue colours but then adding new ones to their range to mix & match ties etc. and also like you say once someone has worn braces a few times they get asked questions if they don’t wear them for a day or so, funny how people just expect once you start wearing braces that you have to then keep going.

    I think once people see the good style braces can bring they want to follow and we even had a guy Peter in our office who refused to wear braces but after a bit of peer pressure and maybe because I brought him in a pair and dropped them on his desk in front of everyone he eventully tried them on. He went to the gents and came back with them on, he has worn them a few time now and says he does not know why he held off before as he loved them now.

    So funny I have a drawer now just for my braces. No one has bought me any as presents yet but like you say I think I would prefer my own choice and not be forced into wearing a pair just because someone bought them for me.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Here here, Gordon!

      NOTE: Anyone reading this comment ought to take a look at the comments above to see how Gordon led the style movement in his office and even converted the non-believers.

  93. I read through all the comments in this article and decided to add my own experiences to it.
    (1) Suspenders are a way to hold your pants up, if you don’t like them, don’t wear them; if do like them by all means go ahead and wear them. If you’re wearing them to be noticed then by all means go ahead and wear them you’ll probably be noticed. The first time people see you in them will most likely evoke some good natured comments
    (2) After having worn suspenders perhaps three times, do expect to get interrogated by acquaintances on the day you suddenly and apparently irrationally decided to wear a belt. Nearly everyone seems to get a peculiar form of amnesia that makes then forget about the 10 years before that you never wore suspenders. Those particular questions comments will go on longer than the ones you get on the first day you wear suspenders.
    (3) If a woman snaps your suspenders immediately look at the woman and evaluate whether you wish to have a relationship with this woman or not. Threatening to pull her bra strap is probably not polite, has no chance of enhancing whatever relationship you may wish to have with this woman and above all probably won’t get you laid. However results vary. In my case I married the woman that did that to me.
    (4) If you’re plan is to start wearing suspenders on a periodic, say once a week, you’re probably doomed.
    a. For whatever reason and my own opinion is that it’s genetic, most woman love to shop. Because suspenders are available in sorts of different patterns and colors they are far more fun to shop for, by the average female, than a belt. So while you may have purchased a black or blue pair for your periodic needs its quite likely that you’re going to receive many more as Christmas and Birthday presents to match with that shirt and tie combination they picked out for you.
    b. The black and blue pair you kept next to your underwear will spawn like rabbits and spill over to a new drawer. Your best chance at controlling the population growth will be tell your loved one that if you get any more suspenders you will need one of her drawers to keep them in. (Good Luck with That)
    c. Consider the guilt foisted on you by your loved ones when you don’t wear the particular pair they bought for you often enough.
    d. Your own body will work against you, most men we gain weight as we transition through our 20 to our 30’s and beyond and for all of us our body shapes changes requiring larger diameter belts. So when that fateful day finally comes that the belts you wore in high school and college no longer fit your loved one will tell you that the money you were planning to buy that new belt with is better spent on, say disposable diapers. Your loved one will tell you “wear those suspenders in the drawer, they look good on you”.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We’ll respond in the same order of your comments:

      1. You’re right, generally guys think they’ll get negative comments for wearing suspenders, but the reaction is almost the opposite.

      2. Ha! You’re right, you definitely do get a rep for wearing suspenders. We’re okay with that though.

      3. That’s got to be the best story of suspender pulling we’ve ever heard! Who would have thought an accessory would help a guy find his soul mate.

      4. It’s true, you will be doomed if you let others (even well-wishers) try to dress you. That’s why we always say, style is a language. Others can help you build your vocabulary (and gifts like suspenders and belts and other accessories are a great example of that), but ultimately you still decide what you’ve got to say.

  94. I have a quick question. Can you wear suspenders with ANY pants? I guess what I’m asking specifically, what if your pants have belt loops, is that a problem? You would never wear a belt AND suspenders right? Also, it sounds like suspenders are more formal. Should they be worn with pants that have cuffs or no cuffs?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Suspenders are intended to hold up your pants. So are belts. Wearing them both at the same time is like wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time.

      Menswear purists would argue that you should not wear suspenders with your pants that have belt loops. We’re more lenient in this area, though we love the suspenders with pants with side tabs look.

      As for cuffs or not, the rule of thumb has nothing to do with suspenders. Instead go by whether or not your pants are pleated. Flat front pants = no cuffs, pleats = cuffed pants.

      Finally, suspenders can be formal, you’ll even see them with tuxedos. Still, we’ve seen (and loved) them with jeans that have been outfitted with suspenders buttons on the waist. Check out Bringing the XY Back to Suspenders for more on the varying formality and styles of suspenders.

  95. Just an update from the “style office” lol.

    Braces are still well in evidence and even Stuart has kept up the pace and bought himself a new pair, Black with a grey stripe down them, very nice. We have also all taken to the socks challenge big time and I think a few of the guys have been hitting the shops over the weekend to boost their sock collection as I can see several nice stripe pairs and bright colour pairs going about the office today.

    Even Peter our illusive final braces wearing, although he has not dawned a pair of braces yet he does have on a pair of nice striped sock today so I think I will have to have a another go at him to get him to try a pair of braces. Stuart suggested that I even bring him in a pair of braces and see if I can convince him to give them a try, maybe if I land a pair of braces on his desk in front of everyone he will maybe break under the pressure and give them a try. 6 out of 8 with braces on today and I think about 5 with the new stylish sock.

    I will keep you posted

    1. Fine work, Gordon! It’s so good to hear that the sock challenge is going so well. Socks allow for fun pairings too, like matching a color in your socks with a color in your shirt or tie or (gasp) shoelaces. And, of course, you can match up your socks with your braces!

      Don’t you worry about Peter. It’ll happen. It’s only a matter of time before he gives in to his better judgment and tries them.

  96. Well we have taken up Stuart’s challange and the bright sock are on today !!! Well it is Friday after all. I have gone for grey/red stripes and I can see about 3 of the other guys have ditched the Black sock and gone for a brighter contrasting look. Just looks to funny to see these guys with a flash of colour.

    1. Good on you, Gordon! We’re big fans of colors in socks (see the picture at the top of this story featuring two models and two Black Lapel founders).

      If you’ll excuse the pun, a little punch of color in the socks puts a little pep in your step.

  97. Well the braces are on !!! I knew I would never get away without wearing them so I have them on today. I did say to the other guys that if I wear them I don’t want to be alone so they all needed to wear theirs too, and they have. I did take my belt along just in case but I have stuck with the braces. I don’t think Gordon ever thought I would be converted so that makes 7 out of 8 guys wearing braces today, think that is a record for our office. I have worn a pair of navy blue braces with a pale Blue shirt and a dark Blue tie and I think it looks very nice as the mix of colours looks to work well.

    I took your advice and wore a pair of multi striped Blue sock today with lighter shades of blue etc. I have also taken up your challenge to try and convert some of them into wearing different sock than the plain dark colours. I have flashed mine about a bit today and told the guys since I have now been converted to braces that they need to give the sock a try for the next style change within the office. We will see what happens next.

    I can’t believe how nice the feel of wearing braces is and I actually feel like I am better dressed that I was when I just wore a belt, how funny is that.

    1. Outstanding! SO happy you’ve joined the ranks and discovered how nice the braced life can be! 7 down, 1 to go (and it’s only a matter of time before we’re 8 for 8 in your office).

      We are equally excited to hear that your took us up on the sock challenge. This is some seriously stylish stuff you’ve got going on. Keep it up!

  98. Thanks for the good words of encouragement and just to let you know I went out an bought a pair of braces at the weekend. They were a dark navy blue colour and had both the clip-on bits and the leather end bits. I chickend out wearing them to work today but I did try them on at home over the weekend and have to admit they did feel comfortable and I think I actually suited the style.

    I spoke to the guys in work and confessed that I had bought a pair of braces and they all thought it was so funny that I wrote to you guys on this site, I don’t think they expected me to do that. Well I think I have been forced into wearing them to work tomorrow as if I don’t I think I will never hear the end of it from them, talk about peer pressure yeah.

    I like the sox thing that sounds like a great thing to get the guys to start wearing other colours that black like they all do, I will work on that and let you know how I get on tomorrow.

    1. This is excellent news, Stuart! We’ll have you all braced up in no time. Glad to hear it suits you. Do let us know how it goes (or even snap some pictures).

      We also really like the thought of you throwing down the gauntlet on socks! This is going to be one dapper office.

  99. Michael Fantore says:

    My dad wore Paris “free swing” suspenders, he gave me a pair when I was a teen anger and they were very comfortable. Although they are no longer made, I still find then “new in the box” on EBay. They are superior when it comes to comfort. Vintage Hickok suspenders are nice too. The “Y” back arrangement on modern suspenders doesn’t seem as comfortable to me as the free swing or “X” back style of the past. I also find vintage sock garters on EBay and I find their comfort and quality better than those made today.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Those Paris suspenders are about as dapper as they come, Michael. The Hickoks are pretty sharp too. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, they’re not that easy to get your hands on today, leaving the more casual X-back style as the only X-back option for most guys.

      Still, we’ll be keeping our eyes out for some vintage pairs on eBay. As for sock garters, we’ve been loving the tall socks we highlighted in our Guide to Stepping Up Your Sock Game, that render sock garters unnecessary. Still, to nail the truly vintage look, they’re a killer detail.

  100. Braces have taken over from belts in my works office.

    Thought I would just drop a note to say that braces have taken over from belts in my office. We have 8 guys who work in our department and before Xmas myself and a couple of the other guys wore braces off and on. Since coming back after Xmas there are now 6 of the guys who have a pair of braces and have worn them to work.

    The other guys said they got them as a present for Xmas off their other half, sounds like they were talking about the wearing of braces in the office and their other halfs must have got then a pair for a laugh for Xmas.

    We have not had all 6 of us wearing braces on the same day yet but most days it will be 3 or 4 of us with them on. The challange now is to get the last 2 guys to switch over to braces and we will have a full house.

    People in other departments think it looks great and often comment on the stylish department etc. Just funny how when one guy starts something others will follow.

    1. Glad you’ve set the trend, Gordon! Sounds like a stylish workplace, indeed. How about sending those last two holdouts a link to this article and giving us a shot at converting them?

      1. Hi, I thought my workmate was joking about this website but I see not. I am one of the last 2 guys in our office who has resisted the wearing of braces. My mate Gordon has managed to convert about 5 of the other guys to start wearing braces and a lot of them wear them several time a week but I have stuck with the belt.

        I did think about going with the majority but I have never even tried a pair of braces on, never mind thought about buying a pair. I just thought it was a phase these guys were going through and the xmas gifts of braces would fade away after a few weeks but it looks like they are sticking with them.

        Gordon said if he could not convert me then maybe you could to try and convert me to trying braces so I am up for any conversion thoughts you have. I feel I am being a bit pressured into it as I keep getting “bullied” at work for not wearing them. It is a big change from a belt so I will need a bit of convincing so to speak. None of my trousers have those button things sewn on to hold the braces on, but I see a few of the guys have theirs clipped on.

        1. Black Lapel says:

          We are here to say that Gordon and your workmates are not the alone. There are plenty of us wearing suspenders regularly because we appreciate the practical and stylish advantages they give the wearer. We’ve highlighted the functional advantages above and, well, those really just need to be experienced. So, we’ll focus on style here.

          When most men think of suspenders they think of the kind of high-contrast, borderline gaudy outfits Michael Douglas wore in Wall Street. While taller gents, like 6’3″ classic film star Gary Cooper, look sharp with a lot of contrast between their shirts and suspenders, We like a little more toned down look with less contrast between the shirt and the suspenders. Most men, including shorter men like 5’7″ Al Pacino, are better served by lower contrast. It is a little less bold, but, in this case a little restraint is a good thing. (And if you’re looking for a more current example of a gentleman mastering suspenders, look no further than the current Mr. James Bond (Daniel Craig) sporting the ultimate low-contrast combination, white formal suspenders on a white shirt.)

          We suggest trying out some suspenders that are in the same color family as most of your shirts and seeing how you like the feel. You’ve got the added benefit of having a group of experts right there are your office, so if you need help getting them adjusted to just the perfect fit, we’re sure Gordon will be willing to help out.

          One more thing…since you’re feeling the peer pressure to try out braces, why not put some pressure on your coworkers to try something else new. Challenge them to come up with some more stylish suit & socks combinations, for example (you can start here or here if you need a refresher). Instead of being known as the guy who wouldn’t come along for the ride, you’ll be better known as the guy who pushed everybody in the office to the next level of style.

  101. I wear Braces most days at work. I started to wear them a few months ago just to see what they were like. First few days I took a bit of joking but most people liked the look a style so I kept wearing them. Now if I dont wear them they ask where they are. I must have several pair of braces now as I need to be able to mix and match with my shirt & ties. I even had a separate drawer now for all my braces.

    Best result was a couple of other guys in work have also worn braces a few times which was great, they said they like the look of mine and wanted to give them a go but never had the courage until before.

    I have had to sew buttons on to a lot of my trousers so I can wear the button braces, which I think are much more stylish than clip-ons. I am not on eof those guys who hided my braces either, I take my jacket off all the time and let them be seen by everyone, amazing the great comments you get from people about the braces.

    1. We are, obviously, big fans if braces/suspenders around Black Lapel. That’s why you won’t have to go to the trouble of adding buttons to any pants you get from us. Sewn in suspenders buttons are just one of the customization options that comes free of charge with all of our pants.

      We’re also big fans of wearing what you like and what looks good on you. Haters are gonna hate but, as you proved, some guys just need a nudge to try wearing something a little different from the “My boss says I have to wear a suit” uniform.

  102. I wear braces most days to work and have even got a couple of other guys to start wearing them too. Just think the look is very stylish and smart.

    How many pairs of braces should a guy own? I now have a drawer full of them as I find it such a difficult job keeping up with matching shirt, tie and braces each day. Think I must have 20+ pairs in different colours and styles.

    1. If you want to wear them daily, then five pair (one for each day of the workweek) seems about right. You’re well over that at 20+, so we’re guessing you’re looking to convince someone you’re not going overboard or convince a significant other that you DO need that extra dresser to store your braces.

      Rest assured, we believe a man should own as many pairs of braces as he damn well pleases. Do they have to match your shirts and ties? Not necessarily. Have some neutrals and some solids (like navy, tan and gray) in your repertoire and you’ll never be too far off. The most important matching question is do the tabs on your braces match your shoes? As with your belts, the leather tabs that hold your braces to your pants ought to be the same color as the shoes you’ve got on.

  103. I’d love to start rocking suspenders…but dress code at my office is business casual. Will suspenders look good without a tie?

    1. You can ABSOLUTELY wear suspenders without a tie! The trick is to wear more casual suspenders (check out this follow up for more on casual suspenders like X-back ones).

      You can try them with your sleeves rolled up like this guy for an after-hours nonchalant vibe. Not into blowing smoke in people’s faces? This gent shows how you can keep things casual with a pair of fairly dressy braces. And who says that a business casual dress code means ties are forbidden? A rugged chambray tie or a casual knit tie like these guys are sporting can look good with suspenders and won’t make you look overdressed.

  104. My gf gave me a pair of braces for my Birthday, and I really find them comfortable and more efficient than belts at keeping my pants in position. However, I do feel quite self-conscious and embarrassed if anyone sees them in public. Am I alone, or just plain stupid?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You are neither alone nor stupid, you’ve been enlightened by a girlfriend who clearly knows a thing or two about style. So first off, whatever you do, don’t let word get back to your gf that you were afraid to be seen in public wearing the gift she lovingly bestowed upon you or she may become your ex-gf.

      Secondly, embarrassment is rarely stylish. Rock those braces with confidence, Mal.

    2. Start by wearing them with a suit or sport coat, since no one will know when you have your jacket closed anyway (which you should be doing while you’re standing up). A three piece suit or contrasting vest, besides being perfect for the cooling temperatures right now, will also cover them up. They also provide an exception to the buttoning rule since your midsection is already dressed.

      In any case, be confident. If someone actually bothers to comment on them, you can say that they were a great gift from a loving partner. That will probably stifle any negative comments they may have thought to make!

      1. Black Lapel says:

        Here here, Jovan.

  105. I’m looking to try some suspenders at my school’s homecoming dance this week. This’ll be my first time getting a pair, so do you have some advice for wear to get some quality suspenders that will serve multiple purposes and on a budget? Love the blog and thanks for the great tips!!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      It’s good to hear from a young gent looking to expand his clothing horizons, Billy. To get the most bang for your buck we recommend the convertible Navy Bronte Heritage brace from The British Belt Company.

      The convertible tab means you’ll be able to use these with any pants, casual or formal. The navy blue color with brown leather accents will work with just about any shirt and tie combo and any brown shoes (the most versatile color for shoes). At $60 they’re not cheap but they will last you for many years to come.

  106. I wear suspenders every day. If you have any belly at all, it’s really the only option because otherwise you spend the entire day looking for moments to pull up your pants (which is somewhere on par with picking your nose) or you let your pants rest below your belly (which makes a bad situation worse).

    I got in the habit of removing the extra fabric from the front straps so that the brass tabs sit below the chest: it looks much better and is more comfortable (not having a double layer of straps pressed against your chest).

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Suspenders really shine for the gentleman with more belly than he wants (in other words, “most guys”).

      One of the other things we like about suspenders is how adjustable they are. You’ve laid out yet another adjustment men can make to dial in their suspender look and comfort. Well stated, Seth.

  107. How about denims, any tips on pulling this off? As a relatively short guy (5’7″) with long torso and shorter legs, belt buckles just make me look shorter hehe.

    1. Wearing suspenders with jeans is possible. Start with clip-ons or using the clips on your convertibles. To see how you like the look. We think they look really even better when the buttons are sewn in to the jeans like this guy’s. You can also sew the buttons on the outside of the waistband on a pair of jeans for a little extra oomph.

      Since this is a more casual look go with a more casual suspender. Try thicker or thinner ones like the Thin Man and Workman styles we noted above when pairing suspenders with jeans. Just please, whatever you do, don’t wear them like this guy.

  108. Thanks for that awesome post! I started wearing suspenders some time ago and I love them! One question though: Could you lose a word or two on matching suspenders with suits? What suspenders look good on what suits and vice versa?

    1. The main thing to focus on is matching your suspenders and your shirt and tie since they are right next to each other and visible at the same time, Jack.

      For matching suspenders to suits, keep it simple by gathering some solid neutral colored suspenders, like navy, tan and maroon, to start your collection. These work with just about any suit (see the top picture in this story).

      It’s a good idea, but not a requirement, to wear patterned suspenders with solid suits. The highest degree of difficulty may be patterned suit and patterned suspenders. The trick there is just to keep the rest of the outfit from getting too busy (see the the photo next to “Go the Distance” above where we paired a patterned pair of suspenders with a low-key glen plaid patterned suit, a solid tie and a solid shirt).

  109. Robert McLean says:

    You can’t overrate how much more comfortable suspenders are. I’ve been wearing mine for nearly a year, throwing it into regular rotation with my suits which I wear daily to work. I sewed the buttons on myself, two at a time whilst watching TV some evenings over a few weeks.
    I particularly enjoy suspenders, bow-tie and sleeves rolled up for a an school, working-hard look.
    Don’t forget to match the leather tabs to your shoes.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Here here, Robert. We couldn’t agree more on the comfort and fit benefits of suspenders.

      Your point about matching the leather in your shoes to the leather tabs is an especially good one. It’s a detail but one that really brings your look together.

  110. I wear suspenders to work now and then – and EVERY single time someone will have a go at pulling them when I’m not looking and then releasing = OUCH!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You could go overboard and hit those people with a harassment lawsuit. Or you could just have a couple of witty responses on hand for people who insist on snapping your suspenders like these:

      1. “Haha! I used to do that to people too…then I turned 13.”

      2. “Hey, we’re all on the same team here and while there’s no ‘I’ in team, there is a ‘U’ in douche. Stop doing that.”

      3. Yell “My pacemaker!” and fake a heart attack.

      1. Once it was a strange lady in a crowded bar and I replied with, “How would you feel if I went ahead and pulled your bra strap?”

        She shot back, “Oh, you like it.” But when I looked over her shoulders for her bra strap, she pulled back, “Okay, I get it!”

        1. Black Lapel says:

          We would have preferred a different ending to that story. But well played nonetheless!

  111. Did black suspenders over a white shirt a couple times a few years back, but at the time my goal was to attract attention. Now i think its a bit over the top. Cant see myself wearing them to a wedding. And definitely not to work. So maybe just a dress up party when i want to look like Don Draper.
    But great tips as always.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Suspenders are more likely to draw attention, especially starkly contrasting ones and especially if you take your jacket off for long stretches of time.

      If you want to dip your toe back into the suspender waters without making them the center of attention try a pair of solid navy ones on a solid light blue shirt.

    2. Black Lapel’s rep is correct. Hardly anyone will notice your braces except when you sit down with your jacket unbuttoned, and even then it’s not likely to attract bad attention. Worth noting that Don Draper actually wore a belt with his suits, just like many American men in the ’60s did. The only exception seemed to with tuxedos — rightly so, they’re pretty much required then. With three piece suits you have no excuse, since only you will see them. 😉

      1. On point, as always, Jovan!

  112. I wear suspenders due to lower-back pain. I’ve sustained injuries 23 years ago during my military service, and the chronic pain comes back when I am not expecting. I always wear a black suit, and white shirt, a low-profile neck-tie, and suspenders. Sometimes I have to use a cane when the pain hits hard, and I need some extra support. I keep the suspenders color tan/khaki, and the cane dark brown with silver handle. When someone comments on it as a fashion statement, I thank them, but clear that it is a medical necessity. It is a sad thing to me personally to see it as a fashion statement, however, I’ll humbly overcome the pain and accept this compliment.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We wouldn’t presume to know what it’s like to have to deal with an injury like this. It is stories like yours that made us want to celebrate suspenders not just for the way they look but for the way they work. It sounds like you have made them work for you and you look good to boot.

    2. Braces are advantageous when you have other painful maladies around the midsection, since trousers can be worn looser around the waist. I remember one man in particular who made good use of them when he had tumorous growths around his waist.

      Don’t forget that they aren’t limited to suits. They are also useful in general if you are a portly gentleman. Even with trousers worn at the waist (which they should be IMO), belts can have a greater tendency to slide down a round stomach. Someone once put it, “Like tying a string around an egg.” Braces help avoid that effect whether you are in a coat and tie or just wearing a sweater. No one needs to know with the latter.

      1. All of this is true! Even if people don’t see the suspenders, when something can ease discomfort and help your clothes fit you well, that’s a win-win.

  113. The other unsung advantage is with three piece suits. A cleaner, continuous look from the waistcoat down instead of displaying a belt buckle or bulge from it.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Precisely, Jovan!

  114. Even possible to pull off with a Black Lapel 3-piece?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Not only is it possible, it’s a very good idea to wear suspenders under the vest in a three-piece suit! Belt buckles can sometimes make the bottom of the vest poof out in an awkward way. Suspenders keep this from happening while they hide underneath your vest. The only drawback is that nobody gets to see your great looking suspenders.

  115. Black Lapel says:

    You can’t go wrong with a simple black. We’ll assume your school shoes are black to match your uniform, so a good pair of black suspenders is a solid investment for a prepster like you. Maybe your second pair can include some red to complement your school-colored tie, but that’s for pair number two. Crawl before you walk with black ones.

  116. Black Lapel says:

    Well, as John Steinbeck once said, “All great and precious things are lonely.” So it may have died of loneliness, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great while it was alive. Can’t beat the 90’s, after all.

    As for Gordon, you keep looking for him. We’re sure you won’t miss him if you ever do cross paths!

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